Cysteine cathepsin activity regulation by glycosaminoglycans

Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:309718. doi: 10.1155/2014/309718. Epub 2014 Dec 21.


Cysteine cathepsins are a group of enzymes normally found in the endolysosomes where they are primarily involved in intracellular protein turnover but also have a critical role in MHC II-mediated antigen processing and presentation. However, in a number of pathologies cysteine cathepsins were found to be heavily upregulated and secreted into extracellular milieu, where they were found to degrade a number of extracellular proteins. A major role in modulating cathepsin activities play glycosaminoglycans, which were found not only to facilitate their autocatalytic activation including at neutral pH, but also to critically modulate their activities such as in the case of the collagenolytic activity of cathepsin K. The interaction between cathepsins and glycosaminoglycans will be discussed in more detail.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation / immunology*
  • Cathepsin K / immunology
  • Cathepsin K / metabolism
  • Cysteine / immunology*
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Genes, MHC Class II / immunology
  • Glycosaminoglycans / immunology*
  • Glycosaminoglycans / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / immunology
  • Lysosomes / metabolism


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • CTSK protein, human
  • Cathepsin K
  • Cysteine